Judy Joo is one of the four Iron Chefs for the UK and the executive chef for The Playboy Club London, which launched in all of its 1960s glamour this summer.
Judy’s love for food and cooking began at home, where she often watched her mother cook authentic Korean dishes. Growing up in a bicultural environment and having a worldly lifestyle gave Judy a seasoned and interesting perspective on food and cooking. She is able to draw from her unique personal experiences, melding Asian, American and European cuisines together.
She graduated from Columbia University, where in addition to earning a Bachelor of Science in engineering, she explored New York’s diverse culinary offerings and expanded her palate for gastronomic adventures. For several years she embarked on a career on the trading floor, but Judy still felt the lure of the kitchen and decided to pursue her true passion. She enrolled at the French Culinary Institute, where her enthusiasm and dedication to her new trade led to her graduating as class valedictorian.
She went on to work in Saveur magazine’s test kitchen developing recipes and researching food traditions. Judy also started Slow Food USA’s first inner-city Slow Food in Schools project in Harlem at The Children’s Storefront School. The program, Harvest Time in Harlem, teaches students about food, cooking and making better food choices.
Serendipitously, when Judy dined at Gordon Ramsay, the notorious chef was there and Judy boldly introduced herself. The next thing she knew, she was hired to work in his kitchen, a job that lasted for more than two years. She has also worked at Maze, Petrus, Claridge’s, The Boxwood Café, The French Laundry and The Fat Duck.
When she is not in the kitchen, Judy is writing at her desk piled high with cookbooks. Whether it’s a restaurant review for Time Out or a text for a cookbook, Judy’s love for the written word helps her share her love of food with others.
Judy has appeared regularly on UK Food Channel’s Market Kitchen as a guest chef, and she was also one of the four Iron Chefs chosen to participate in the UK version of Iron Chef.
Judy makes her U.S. television debut as one of the three judges on season four of Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, premiering October 30th at 9pm.